Clean Air Metals Inc. is a Canadian-based platinum-palladium exploration and development public company (AIR: TSXV). Clean Air Metals’ flagship asset is the 100% owned, high-grade Thunder Bay North project; a platinum, palladium, nickel, and copper project near the City of Thunder Bay, Ontario. The project hosts twin deposits namely the Current deposit and the Escape deposit. The 14,000 tonnes per day Lac des Iles Mine owned and operated by Impala Platinum is 40 miles to the northwest and presently produces 30% of Canada’s palladium output.
Executive Chairman and mining engineer, Jim Gallagher, P.Eng. and CEO geologist Abraham Drost, P.Geo. lead an experienced team of geologists and engineers who use the Norilsk magma conduit stratigraphic and mineral deposit model to guide ongoing exploration and development studies. As the former CEO of North American Palladium Ltd., which owned the Lac des Iles Mine before the sale to Impala Platinum in December 2019, Jim Gallagher and his team are credited with the mine turnaround and creation of significant value for shareholders.
Unleashing Solutions to Serve the Global Needs
Clean Air Metals Inc. was formed by RTO and commenced trading on the TSX in May 2020. The potential to advance exploration on the Thunder Bay North project was compelling, given the increased demand for carbon-free transportation and global environmental standards.
Jim Gallagher, Executive Chairman-designate of Clean Air Metals Inc., stated at the time, “The recent acquisition of the Lac des Iles Mine by Impala Platinum underscores the globally recognized significance of the PGE-rich Thunder Bay North region. Clean Air Metals has consolidated two prospective PGE properties with a significant amount of historical exploration drilling with some impressive PGE-Ni-Cu intercepts in North America and is focused on expanding these results.”
An Inspiring Leader with Decades of Experience
Abraham Drost is the CEO and Director of Clean Air Metals Inc. Abraham is a Professional Geoscientist (Ontario) with a 35-year career as a field geologist and consultant and as a senior manager of several public companies. He is a former President and Director of Sabina Gold and Silver, former President and Director of Sandspring Resources Inc., and former CEO, Director of Source Exploration Corp., now Mexican Gold Corp. Abraham is a former Chairman of Premier Gold Mines USA Inc. and the former CEO and founding Director of Premier Royalty Inc. before the sale to Sandstorm Gold. He was a former CEO and then Director of Mega Precious Metals Inc. at the sale to Yamana. Abraham was most recently CEO and Director of Carlisle Goldfields Ltd. at the sale to Alamos Gold (AGI: TSX). Previously, Mr. Drost was Regional Land Use Geologist with the Ontario Government.
Getting Better and Getting Ahead with Sustainable Mining
According to Abraham, Clean Air Metals is aimed to work on the sustainable development of platinum-group metals (PGMs), copper, and nickel. The Thunder Bay project principal payable commodity suite (Ni-Cu-PGMs) will be a significant contributor to carbon neutrality. He adds that platinum is critical to the emerging hydrogen economy. Palladium continues to be a regulated and required component for pollution control in catalytic converters in internal combustion engines worldwide. Copper is the conductor of choice for electric vehicles (EV) and electrical grid infrastructure. Nickel is a proven EV battery metal.
Abraham states that future underground mine production at Thunder Bay North would feature a small footprint and be powered by an electrical power grid that is 100% renewable with majority hydroelectric, plus wind and solar. In terms of mine design, he says that the Company will maximize the use of electric-powered equipment. The use of electric-powered equipment will create a more sustainable mine and safer air quality in the underground environment.
Clean Air Metals is coordinating with a major forestry company operator around co-funding tree, replanting efforts in legacy areas including old gravel pits and decommissioned forestry access roads, claims Abraham. The company will investigate carbon sequestration within ultramafic mine tailing material.
Minimizing Environmental Impacts with Technology
Abraham believes that the ability to work with, collect, and manipulate robust datasets has been crucial to innovation in the mining industry. Database management systems (DBMS), geographic information systems (GIS), and 3D modeling software have contributed to discoveries and expedited development. He highlights that Clean Air Metals uses DBMS to integrate robust amounts of data into a workable format for GIS and 3D modeling to vector exploration targets and mine planning.
Abraham remarks that it is worth noting that disruptive technologies have made significant changes to workplace safety in the mining industry. The tracking of data has contributed to safety policies and procedures development. He adds that robotics has enabled the safe recovery of material in mines without risk to the operator. The use of these technologies will aid Clean Air Metals in minimizing environmental impact and increasing production and safety.
Bestowing Green Energy and Zero-Emission Metals
Abraham mentions that in support of the demand for green energy and zero-emission metals, Clean Air Metals is aiming for the sustainable development of Ni-Cu-PGMs through a carbon-neutral production approach, which will be 100% renewable grid supply based on hydro, wind, and solar, maximized electrification of underground equipment, tree planting on surrounding harvested areas and investigating carbon capture with mine tails.
The company has also established itself as a leader in Environmental, Social, and Governance through the inclusion of First Nations communities in meaningful business opportunities with an equity stake in the company, a diverse Board of Directors, minimal site footprint, and Full ESG reporting.
Overcoming Adversity with a Skilled Technical Team
Junior exploration companies can find it challenging to vector towards discoveries and increase known mineralization and grade, says Abraham. He adds that Clean Air Metals is fortunate to have a highly skilled technical team who can strategize exploration through well-informed hypotheses of the ultramafic conduit system. The recognition of similarities to the Norilsk system has aided drilling, modeling, and interpreting the geochemical analysis. Through this expert team, the company has regularly hit new areas of mineralization and created a more refined model.
Soaring High with Remarkable Achievements
According to Abraham, the company has achieved significant progress with its First Nation Partners through a Memorandum of Agreement, establishing a project partnership. The Agreement set a foundation for collaborative and respectful communications to facilitate meaningful consultation with the Participating Communities to ensure respect and protection of aboriginal and traditional territorial and treaty rights.
Clean Air Metals recently announced a robust mine plan and cash flow model as part of a Preliminary Economic Assessment for the Current and Escape PGE-Cu-Ni Deposits of the Thunder Bay North Project. The mine plan shows impressive metrics with total revenue of US$2.2 billion over the 10-year ramp-access underground mine plan on both Current and Escape Deposits.
He highlights that the total mined metal production over a 10-year mine life based on the present resource base is expected to be 629 k oz Platinum, 618 k oz Palladium, 111 M pounds Copper, 57 M pounds Nickel, 38 k oz Gold, 850 k oz Silver, or 2.8 million ounces in palladium equivalents.
The Project is located close to key infrastructure near the City of Thunder Bay, Canada. This creates the potential for Thunder Bay and Clean Air Metals Inc. to become a source of PGE-Ni-Cu for North America.
A New Beginning for Limitless Changes
There is an unprecedented demand for green energy that continues to grow, presumes Abraham. Looking forward, the company intends to unlock the additional potential of this mineral system through further exploration and optimization of the technical mine plan delivering an enhanced Pre-feasibility Study (PFS) in 2023.